Monthly Archives: July 2012

Call Me Barbara

My friend Sherry recently shared with me the letter her dear son, Quinn, sent while enjoying two weeks at Camp Herzl this June. She in turn kindly allowed me to share. These correspondences are seriously one-of-a-kind.

Of course this inspired me to dash up to the attic to see what I could find from my own camp letters to my folks. I found some hysterical letters but I remember this particular Camp Greenwood being my first ‘sleep away’ camp, a Girl Scouts camp 45 minutes west from the Twin Cities.

It’s nice to see I sounded happy in my postcard since all I remember from that week is needing to wear the same pair of argyle knee socks the entire six days since the camp did not allow ankle-exposed bobby socks!! No joke.

I have to say, I do adore the postcard my parents sent off with me especially since I walk around this lake most days of the week. It all comes back around (Lake Harriet in the foreground, Lake Calhoun in the background).

Eloise Kelen, June ’12

Even if your kids are not heading off to camp, a letter to a school friend or a distant relative sharing all the goings-on this summer can be a breath of fresh air during this record breaking summer heat!!

The Written Name

It’s one thing to name a child. It’s another thing to hear it, say it and read it for the first few days of their life. While checking in at Beatrice’s one week appointment yesterday afternoon, I wrote out her name for the first time (aside from practicing it a couple times prior to her birth). Chills ran through me while I registered at the front desk. Of course, I have typed her name a thousand times on emails over the past week but writing it out was completely different.  There was weight to the pen, meaning in the ink. It felt real. I thought of all the future times I will be writing her name…birthday invitations, school registrations, labels on shirts headed to camp. But this was the first written name and it felt so right.

A few other written highlights from the week…

 Whiteboard at HCMC

Emmett’s letter clouds which guided me through labor

Cue cards for breathing!! (used a few different techniques this time around)

Homemade ‘Welcome Home’ sign from Azaya & Zada

Our friend Vicki took the boys’ ‘Baby Bea’ handwriting and stitched it onto a pillow

And traced their hands for the front of the pillow. Such talent.

 Greetings from 5-year-old Marie


 Creative Aunt Wendy’s “Queen Beatrice”

7-year-old Frances’s card to Cupcake (Beatrice’s nickname)

Neighbor Anna’s greetings to Bea

First card from Grandma Sally & Jim

One Week appointment card from the Pediatricians

And so it begins, the written name. Tomorrow she will be writing her name all by herself, or so it will feel as time swiftly passes by.

Wish You Were Here

Postcards from summer road trips are a delight for any family member or friend to receive. And postcardly just made sharing your trip highlights easier.

The idea is simple. Postcardly takes your email and attached pictures and turns them into a postcard. This can be sent from a phone, computer or where ever email is available.

I’m still old-school and print out photos to place into albums as often as I can. So the idea of receiving an actual photo via postcard is a double bonus for me!!

So as summer is now in full swing, don’t forget there is still time to send out a few posts in the mail every now and then.  And it doesn’t have to be this difficult…

My friend Jill sent me the link to Melvin the Machine. It’s brilliant. Hopefully a little inspiration for all of you.

Amelio the Mail Carrier

My friend, Lisa, is a talented artist who designs beautiful quilts (check our her company, Pixie Spit.) She also carries a love of stamps which stems from years of admiring her Italian grandfather’s every day hard work as a letter carrier.

Amelio Taglia worked for over 40 years in Cleveland, Ohio as a proud U.S. Mail Carrier. He took his job very seriously. When he wasn’t meeting his friends at the Dairy Warehouse after work and bringing home ice cream for his wife and three kids, he was delivering mail through four, (often brutal), seasons while being admired by many. Lisa recalls the hundreds of strangers appearing at his funeral. He was one of those guys who people looked up to. And those folks also understood the importance of his job.


Jenny, Lisa’s sister, wearing her grandfather’s Mail Carrier hat

Amelio saved stamps with the intention of handing them over to his grandson, Jimmy, who might appreciate the collection even more later in life. As the story goes, fast forward thirty years and we find adult Jim leaving his parents’ home with Amelio’s stamp collection, ready to sell for some extra cash. Thankfully, his mother stopped him before reaching the car. In the end, dear Lisa was able to retain the vintage stamps and never plans to let them go. She recently shared part of this fantastic collection with me.

I encourage you, the next time you run into your Post Carrier, to ask him or her how their day is going. Hand them a homemade muffin. Express your gratitude. With the internet these days we sometime forget the importance of the U.S Mail Carriers’ role in our lives. It’s a respectful line of work and one I certainly would hate to see taken for granted in years to come.

By the way, more from Lisa sharing her love of writing and her own stamp collection later this summer. But for now, I’m off to write in the journal of our soon arriving Baby Brown. I’m giving he or she a not-so-subtle suggestion it’s a good time to make an appearance!!